Ever been lost in a busy airport and start worrying that you won't catch your plane on time or not know where to go? Well, Gatwick Airport in London has taken a different approach to this by installing 2,000 Bluetooth-powered beacons that tell passengers where they are in the airports two huge terminals.
These beacons are a collaboration with London's startup company, Pointr and are accurate to three meters, so you can be sure that with this around you won't be lost. The system shows where passengers are on a digital map, with their current location shown as a blue dot and green arrows to show where they need to go. Gatwick have said that they eventually hope to introduce an augmented reality system that gives passengers step-by-step directions using real-world visual data.
Gatwick plans to combine the network of beacons into its own app, and is in talks with airlines about sharing access to the data. It could also be used to tell passengers if they're late or to tell the airline to offload someone's luggage if the late passenger is far away. The airport also intends to use the data to help with things like queue management and reducing congestion in the terminals. Gatwick have said that they won't be taking any personal data from the beacons just generic information on people densities in different zones of the airport.
They have also said that they will offer the retailers in the terminals access to the system for
marketing purposes so, if you walked past a shop your phone may tell you offers on specific products in that store. And for someone like me who always gets lost in Gatwick, this is the perfect tool!